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Jethro Tull - Songs From The Wood CD (album) cover

SONGS FROM THE WOOD

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.16 | 937 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
3 stars What on earth came over Ian Anderson in the mid-seventies? He moved into the country, started reading about British folklore and legends - and he had to sing about them too! Ever since that day Jethro Tull have been designated a "prog- folk" band. Well, I refuse to accept such a label. In my book, the Tull are first and foremost a "symphonic prog" band (with folk and blues influences).

So when Ian opens this album with the words "Let me sing you songs from the wood", my immediate reaction is: "no". As Howard Devoto would sneer, only a few years after SONGS FROM THE WOOD was released: "Back to nature? I don't know what it means." I've never liked that opening tune, and 'Jack-in-the-Green' sounds even more awful.

For me, this album really only takes off with 'Cup of Wonder' and (fortunately) just keeps getting better from there. Sure, Ian's lyrics remain a source of embarrasment ("Stir the cup that's ever filling with the blood of all that's born", anyone?) but his tunes are so catchy, the band arrangements are so inspired, and the sense of joy is so palpable I find it irresistible. Jethro Tull had learnt to make optimal use of a uniquely rich combination of instruments. Acoustic guitar, pipe organ, first-rate percussion, synthesizer, flute, electric guitar, bass and piano are all found playing together, trading licks and soloing exquisitely. And still the band's sound stays crystal-clear. Their enthusiasm is infectious. 'Velvet Green' is my favourite: quite possibly the most perfectly devised six minutes in all prog history.

fuxi | 3/5 |

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